Tag Archives: romance

Review of An Unnatural Vice, by K. J. Charles

I received an ARC of An Unnatural Vice, by K. J. Charles, through Netgalley. And since I’m vacationing in Florida along with the lovely Tropical Storm Cindy, I’ve had lots of time to read. Luckily, where I am there are bucketsful of rain, but little wind and no lightning, so I can still sit outside, on the lovely screened porch, listen to the rain, look at the water and bask in the negative ions as I blissfully read without guilt because I’ve not taken the kiddos to a proper beach, just let the frolic in the pool. Everyone is happy.

Description from Goodreads:
Crusading journalist Nathaniel Roy is determined to expose spiritualists who exploit the grief of bereaved and vulnerable people. First on his list is the so-called Seer of London, Justin Lazarus. Nathaniel expects him to be a cheap, heartless fraud. He doesn’t expect to meet a man with a sinful smile and the eyes of a fallen angel—or that a shameless swindler will spark his desires for the first time in years.

Justin feels no remorse for the lies he spins during his séances. His gullible clients simply bore him. Hostile, disbelieving, utterly irresistible Nathaniel is a fascinating challenge. And as their battle of wills and wits heats up, Justin finds he can’t stop thinking about the man who’s determined to ruin him.

But Justin and Nathaniel are linked by more than their fast-growing obsession with one another. They are both caught up in an aristocratic family’s secrets, and Justin holds information that could be lethal. As killers, fanatics, and fog close in, Nathaniel is the only man Justin can trust—and, perhaps, the only man he could love.

Another lovely book by Charles; she just so rarely lets me down. I very much enjoyed Justin and Nathaniel’s fiery passion, most when it was still in the enemies stage of this enemies to lovers story. The little bit of mystery was easy to figure out, but still pleasant, and I’m still on the hook for who the over-all, big baddy is. (Hopefully this will be revealed in the next book. I don’t like to be strung along too long.)

I did feel the two men went to declarations of love too quickly. I thought the enemies, to friends, to lovers was well paced. But then suddenly there was love and sentimentality and such, and I thought that was a leap. I also very much disliked Nathaniel’s sense of moral superiority and the fact that Justin acquiesced to it. The tone of ‘let me show you how wrong your life is and how to live properly’ grated on my nerves from start to finish.

All in all, however, I finished this pleased as punch and can’t wait or the next one.


Review of Greenwood Cove (Sunshine Walkingstick #1), by Celia Roman

I received an Audible code for a copy of Greenwood Cove, by Celia Roman.

Description from Goodreads:
I had three loves in my life: my daddy, him what my mama killed in cold blood; my son Henry, God rest him; and tall as an oak Riley Treadwell.

I lost all of ’em, one way or t’other, ’til Riley showed up on my stoop with a monster problem and tried to wiggle his way back into my life.

Only, weren’t no monster bothering him; was the one bothering his ex-girlfriend what’d stirred up a hornet’s nest out on Lake Burton amongst the muckity mucks. Weren’t no never mind to me, see? I was fine letting well enough alone, ‘cept curiosity got the best of me, and Riley, well. He weren’t above using that silver tongue of his to persuade me ’round to his way of doing things. If I’da listened to my gut, maybe I woulda avoided stepping knee deep into somebody else’s trouble.

Then again, I ain’t never been one to heed a warning when monsters come a-calling.

I quite enjoyed this, both the story and the narration of the Audible. I struggled at first with Rebecca Winder’s version of a rural accent. It, combined with Roman’s phrasing, came across as artificial at times, more of a stereotypical mountain-speak than anything realistic. But I got used to it eventually.

I generally liked this. I liked the characters, the mystery and the romance. But I struggled at times feeling like the romance overpowered everything else and, well, this really doesn’t feel like a first book. The characters have a lot of history and a certain amount of background is left unexplained. I kept feeling like there must be a prequel out there somewhere. (There isn’t as far as I know.) Some of this feeling probably would have been ameliorated by fleshing some of the plot points out a bit and bringing her whole paranormal investigation into the open earlier. As it was, I wasn’t even sure she’d had paranormal cases, outside of her lost son, before the events of the book, until it was finally mentioned toward the end. It felt like yet one more thing readers were just supposed to know already.

All the same, it was a fun read. There was a certain amount of humor and I’d be open to continuing the series.

Review of Fish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay #1), by Rhys Ford

I borrowed Rhys Ford‘s Fish Stick Fridays through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:
Deacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

As a general rule contemporary romance, be it het or queer, is not my favorite genre. I’m often just this side of bored with them. I keep trying to love them and often slide by with an “it was ok.” That’s how I felt about Fish Stick Friday. I’d read some of Ford’s fantasy romance and enjoyed it a lot, I’d hoped for better results here. Oh well.

I liked Lang and Deacon. But the story is basically insta-lust, leading to instant relationship and insta-love and moving in together in a matter of a few months. All this while there are murderers and arsonists on the loose. I simply couldn’t suspend my disbelief far enough to believe it. I also didn’t feel either character was well drawn or fleshed out.

Zig however was wonderful. She was colorful and engaging and cute. She made up for a lot in this book. As did the bit of diversity present in the cast.

All in all, an ok read for me.